Why the New York Times Birthday Book Is the Best Gift I’ve Ever Given

And it's currently on sale!

November 14, 2023 9:08 am
The New York Times Custom Birthday Book, on a newspaper background
They're gonna love this.

Nota bene: If you buy through the links in this article, we may earn a small share of the profits.

The best gift I’ve ever given is the New York Times Custom Birthday Book.

Okay, actually the best gift I’ve ever given was a watercolor painting of a former boyfriend’s favorite New York City bar I commissioned through Etsy. Only $120 for a beautifully illustrated, custom painting! Can’t beat that. It was such a thoughtful surprise he actually cried upon opening it. But since I no longer want the greatest gift I’ve ever given associated with a past lover, I’m sticking with this: The best gift I’ve ever given is the New York Times Custom Birthday Book, and I gifted it to my mother, who has no choice but to love me forever.

I actually discovered the Custom Birthday Book through a friend who had also gifted the item to her mother, suggesting to a group chat I was in at the time that if anyone was ever in need of a unique, personal gift, this was the way to go. And I would have to agree.

What is the New York Times Birthday Book?

The item in question is a 12″ x 15″ coffee table book filled with every front page of the New York Times on the day you were born, starting with the day and year you were born. Say you (or your gift recipient) were born on February 1st, 1969. The book would begin with the front page from that date, then the front page from every February 1st through the present. You also have the choice of a linen cover (available in six colors) or a leatherette cover (slate gray or black).

If you want the most out of your Birthday Book, the earlier you were born, the better. However, for those of us not born at the dawn of the 20th century, the New York Times has included iconic front pages from major historical moments at the end of each book, to get to approximately 80 pages.

Still, the book, in my opinion, works best for someone with a bit more life experience, i.e., someone over the age of 50. This, however, makes it a top-notch gift to give someone celebrating a major birthday milestone, or to an elder parent for the holidays, Mother’s or Father’s Day.

A perennial favorite, the New York Times Birthday Book recalls history through a personal lens.
New York Times

Why Does the New York Times Birthday Book Make for Such a Great Gift?

You don’t need to be a history buff or even an avid reader of the New York Times to enjoy the newspaper’s captivating keepsake. The Birthday Book recalls history through a uniquely personal lens, compelling the reader to reflect on the world events that have influenced their life — and potentially introduce them to a new historical fact or two.

Beyond the obvious personal aspect of the book’s content, though, the Birthday Book is a remarkably well-crafted memento. As mentioned, the coffee table book is available in either a smooth leatherette cover with foil-stamped embossing or in premium linen with a detailed embossed title area. Each book displays the owner’s name and birth date on its cover, which adds another nice personal touch. It’s also surprisingly affordable for a customized gift. The leatherette cover is priced at $100, while the Linen option is slightly more costly, at $145.

However, you can snag the Birthday Book at a discount right now. The Times Store is currently throwing a holiday promotion — taking 25% off full-priced products with code HOLIDAY2023, now through November 29th.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.